by C.T. Hutt
When I read this week that the Cub Scouts were offering a new merit badge based on a young person’s skills as a video gamer I was floored. We are enthusiastic proponents of the video game medium, but even we will admit that there are limits to how far digital experiences should permeate our lives. Surely the Cub Scouts, an organization dedicated to teaching young people practical skills and encouraging them to explore the outdoors, is the wrong organization to promote the merits of an inherently indoor activity.
A quick glance at the Cub Scouts’ requirements for attaining the video game merit badge sheds some much needed light on the issue. Each required step necessary to attain this mark of recognition encourages young people to not just be gamers, but to be engaged gamers. The steps teach kids to budget their time, to pay attention to the game rating system, and most importantly to seek their parents advice on the suitability of a given title.
Friday, April 30, 2010
by C.T. Hutt
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
by C.T. Hutt
By night, the streets are hushed. To a blind man it might seem as though civilization was never established on the inhospitable soil of the motherland. The disastrous economic policies of a detached and archaic government have left the once proud civilization in ruins. Clinging to a decadent past, the tyrants of old have tightened their grip around the throat of the populace, muting their cries for reform. Even still, in a dark basement in the most rural and secluded corner of the nation a few dedicated individuals dare to huddle together and between them whisper a single word against the oppressive silence: revolution.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Lots of excellent responses to Ebert's article on why video games can never be art have been cropping up since he posted it. Here are the best ones I've seen since posting my own response:
Kellee Santiago responds, explaining the talk that she gave at USC and critiquing Ebert's response to the arguments she presented in said talk.
Adam Serwer offers his perspective on the American Prospect blog.
Brian Ashcraft presents a thorough analysis of Ebert's authority as a film critic and lack of authority as a video game critic on Kotaku.
NaviFairy of GayGamer.net takes issue with Ebert's claim that you always "win" a video game.
On a lighter note, Kirk Hamilton of Gamer Melodico has put together a flow chart which Ebert should consult the next time he sits down to write about video games.
Over at IGN, Mike Thomsen points out some of the illuminating artistic criticism that has been written by actual video game critics, and eloquently explains some of the key differences between video games and other games.
Though they certainly don't need me to link to them, Penny Arcade has offered some concise commentary, both in blog and comic form.
Send us an e-mail or comment with your favorite posts or your own responses, and we'll endeavor to compile all the best arguments here.
Monday, April 19, 2010
“Obviously, I’m hopelessly handicapped because of my love of cinema…”
After reading Roger Ebert’s new diatribe against video games as an art form, I wrote an obnoxiously long, point-by-point response to his arguments. Re-reading it in a less heated state, however, I found that I continued to return to one point in particular, which may be more valuable than any other in understanding Ebert’s close-mindedness. The simple response to Ebert is this: He doesn’t know very much about video games.
Friday, April 16, 2010
The South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced this week that they will be implementing a country wide internet service restriction for six hours every night to curb online videogame addiction in minors. The so called “nighttime shutdown” will apply to most online video games available to young people in the hope of promoting better sleeping and study habits. This decree comes in the wake of a widely syndicated news story in Korea about a couple who let their infant child die of malnutrition while they played online games. Despite its good intentions, this decision sets a disastrous precedent for the place of government in our digital lives.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
So what are the most effective systems? The most satisfying rewards I have ever received from video games have been intellectual ones; to be more specific, I treasure the sense of victory that comes from solving a particularly interesting, intelligent puzzle. Braid was incredibly effective in this regard. I would get frustrated for a while, fiddle around with my various options for interaction, and eventually stumble on something that worked with a sense of sudden elation. Puzzle games are enthralling because they make the player feel intelligent when they successfully complete a challenge. This formula can also lead to discouragement and self-doubt, but to me, those hard-earned intellectual victories are worth the risk of feeling like an idiot from time to time.
So what video game rewards do you most crave, and why?
Monday, April 12, 2010
by Daniel Bullard-Bates
One of the greatest struggles of the artist is to discover one’s areas of expertise and come to terms with one’s limitations. This can be brutal and occasionally heartbreaking: One can’t help but feel sympathy for the person who dreams of being a painter only to discover they are colorblind, or the singer-songwriter who is hopelessly tone-deaf. It can also be empowering; discovering that one has a talent for the thing they most love to do is an awe-inspiring revelation.I remember reading Fight Club and thinking, “There’s nobody I can think of who could better do this than [David] Fincher.” It’s like it was made for him. It’s the kind of text married to someone of his talents.-Edward Norton, AV Club Interview
Friday, April 9, 2010
by C.T. Hutt
For gamers with gainful employment and bills to pay, the fiscal impact of our favored hobby is significant. Consoles aren’t cheap and the television, sound system, and extra controllers that go along with them come at a premium; this is to say nothing about the resulting electricity bills or the cost of the games themselves. Unlike Mario, we can’t just pound our heads against brick walls until gold comes out of the stones, we work for our GPs and we work hard. Finding a good deal on games is an important consideration for savvy gamers, but doing so is complicated by the rise of digital distribution services, the popularity of DLC, and games which are released for multiple platforms. Assuming the experience is more or less uniform, why would a person pay more to play a game on their XBox when they could pay less for the same experience on a computer? Sales at brick-and-mortar stores like Gamestop and online promotions only add additional layers of confusion to the debacle. No matter how convoluted the algorithm may be to find the best price on a game there is only one rule that you always need to remember: the closer you are to the release date, the higher the price will be. So why does anyone buy a game on its release date?